Curiosity checklist: Looking for feedback

by alexvermeer 1 min read20th Apr 201215 comments


I'm helping CMR create a 'rationality checklist'. The basic idea is this: 

  • Answer a series of clear-cut, unambiguous yes/no questions that reflect your current level of rationality; obtain a score.
  • Test again in the future as a means of measuring progress in your rationality training.

Sample application: before and after a minicamp. Target market: LWers.

I made a checklist for Curiosity (below). Others are in the works. A question like "Am I a curious person?", while it is useful to know, is too vague for this checklist and too susceptible to bias.

Any and all feedback is greatly appreciated. It is easy to answer yes/no? Is anything missing? Anything unclear? Would you find this useful?


  1. Do you have specific habits for getting curious when you notice you're not curious about something important?
  2. Do you, in every situation, endeavour to have an accurate map of the territory?
  3. Do you regularly acknowledge and accept the possible worlds that may exist? E.g. "If the iron is hot, I desire to believe it it hot; if it is cool, I desire to believe it is cool."
  4. Do you regularly ask, “What are the causes of my beliefs? Why do I think this? What’s the source?”
  5. Do you regularly ask, “What would I expect to see differently if x was or was not the case?”
  6. Do you regularly ask, when unexpected things happen, “Why didn’t I expect x to happen?”
  7. When you sit down to think, or to look something up, do you regularly ask, "What am I chasing? Why am I doing this? Am I asking myself questions about this?"
  8. Do you frequently stop to consider what information will be most valuable to achieving your goals?
  9. Do you frequently ask, "What do I most want to accomplish?"
  10. Do you focus your curiosity on the information you need to achieve your goals? E.g. "What do I need to know in order to achieve that thing? What is most likely to help me learn this and figure it out?"
  11. Do you stop reading when a source becomes irrelevant?
  12. Do you actively seek out more useful information? E.g. "What are the best sources? Where is the best information?"
  13. Do you gravitate to inquiries that seem most promising of producing shifts in belief?
  14. Do you gravitate to inquiries that are least like the ones you've tried before?
  15. Do you ever call topics or ideas boring, shallow, crazy, beneath you, or confusing (or other words that close off thought)?
  16. Do you notice when conflicting emotions cut off your curiosity?
  17. Do you, in every social interaction, ask what that person can teach you?
  18. Do you, in every situation where you receive feedback, treat it as potentially valuable?